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Looking for advice on starting up a lawn care business

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by aardvark1, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. aardvark1

    aardvark1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I'm new to this forum and am about to be new to running a lawn care business. Any advice would be great. Advice on how to do it right and advice on what doesn't work. Best way to advertise, quickest way to lose a customer, etc. I will be doing this with a partner (He'll be aardvark2 in this forum) and we want to start off right. We live in one of the fastest growing areas in the United States per capita, so new people moving in all the time. Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and I look forward to being a member of this forum.
  2. Likestomow

    Likestomow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 997

    …although it’s been said
    many times,
    many ways… Merry…

    No wait, I mean find the Search Button and wear it out.

    There is a literal wealth of information waiting here for you on this forum. I suggest that as you do your searching and find things that interest you, copy and paste them into a Word document for quick retrieval in the coming days.
  3. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,381

    Quality service is above all number one. If your work is top notch, word will get around. The same is true if your quality is poor. You'll find that word of mouth advertising will build (or kill) your business faster than any other type of advertising you can do.

    Buy the best equipment that you can afford. Avoid cheap homeowner equipment at all costs. These tools will not take the punishment of commercial use and will only cost you more money when you have to replace them with commercial grade stuff. High quality tools will make you more reliable, more efficient and produce more revenue per dollar invested than any cheap homeowner grade equipment.

    Don't try to grow the business too rapidly. Growing a business to quickly is the second biggest reason for early business failures. Poor business management skills is number one. Be patient. If your work is top drawer... the customer will find you and not the other way around.

    Price your service competitively, but don't under-price just to get new business. You'll regret it when you wind up with every cheapskate PITA customer that other LCO's don't want.

    Last but not least...get a license and insurance. In other words...be a professional.
  4. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    First of all, be dependable. You will not get word-of-mouth business if you're not. Don't lowball just to get business (not even if you are doing it just to get a few accounts to start with). Do quality work (and if you miss something, do go tothe trouble to get your equipment al back out again and finish the job right). If you can't afford professional equipment, stick with a homeowner 21" until you can. . .its the only mower that will do commercial quality mowing at a residential price. . .and yes, it is slow! Its fine to use homeowner 2-strokes but as you wear them out and replace them, you MUST replace them with professional equipment!

    Other than that, there's not much more I can say besides take care of your body out there in the elements.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Any body can cut grass. Alot of people can cut it well. Few people can make it art. Only a small percentage can run a profitable business, be a salesman, keep track of all their numbers, and have very happy customers. That small percentage are the ones that make a real living off this business.
    Study business- sales- marketing- finance and than go out and practice your art.
    Look at the end result first, than figure all the steps to get there. Do all those steps and you will get the result.

    At this point I will cop out and tell you to do the search because everything that you need to know is out there. Study a lot and when you have 1 question about 1 point ask that question. You will get a better response than asking blanket questions.

    Use words like sales-selling-profit-bidding-measure-production-costs-time-mowers-trimmers-edgers.
    Have fun and good luck---Learning to run the widget business is more important than the widget!
  6. rclay11541

    rclay11541 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 100

    *Flyers and door to door.
    *Lighting fast customer service in terms of returning phone calls.
    *Show you really care about each customer. Many will ask if you can do little things for them, Such as making sure a gate is closed when you leave etc.. do it! They will remember you for it good or bad.
    *Find the best mower you can afford then go one better (No homeowner pice of crap nomatter what anybody tells you)
    *Buy a big trailer you will outgrow it fast AT least a 6x12
    *Be prepared to work like a dog
    *Be prepared to be poor your fist year and maybe a few more
    *Stay on top of your lawns (dont let them fall behind..I personaly look for lawns that are long along my route if i see one that is i stop and see if the home owner wants to switch to me)
  7. the scaper

    the scaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 690

    Honesty, integrity, quality, speed , prayer.
  8. fairwayCuts

    fairwayCuts LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    research your equipmet! Make sure you buy the mower that is going to best fit your needs. When I started I didn't know a whole lot about them and kinda bought one without thinking it through real well. Allways commercial equipmet.

    Like someone said before, wear out the search button. There is so much information on here and everyone is so helpfull. I have learned more on this site from many members than I ever could have from reading books or trying to wing it. Thats not to say though you shouldn't try and gain all the knowledge you can from any source. I am constantly at the library looking for new books!
  9. rickman

    rickman LawnSite Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 29

    good advice :cool2:
  10. aardvark1

    aardvark1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I appreciate all the feedback, it was all helpful. As far as the trailer comment, I just purchased a 7' X 20' dual axle trailer, rear gate, side gate, front toolbox, 4 foot high mesh siding all the way around, upgraded to the 5200 lb. axles and 2 5/8" bulldog hitch. Looking from what the other folks on this site have, I seem to have purchased a trailer that will do for now as I start this up. I have a 1995 Ford F350 4X4 Crew Cab diesel truck with propane injection system, partner has a 2002 GMC 2500HD 4X4 extend cab with the little 6.0L gas engine, I'm concerned about his ability to pull this trailer if we fill it up to 10,000 pounds, but I guess it will do for now :)

    Anyone have preferences on 0TR mowers? We have been looking at grasshopper brand mowers and would probably like to go with the diesel if we can find one used and reasonable priced. Any input on other brands would be appreciated! Thanks.

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